Photo courtesy of IMSA

Petit Le Mans entry list features some star extra drivers

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The Motul Petit Le Mans entry list is out and the fourth and final round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup season-within-a-season of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign features, as usual, a number of star extra drivers.

ENTRY LIST

Before getting into those, there is one notable absence for the moment, as Team Penske isn’t listed.

Reports percolated over the fall that Penske was poised to run an Oreca 07 Gibson at Petit Le Mans, in advance of its Acura ARX-05 DPi bow in 2018, but Team Penske president Tim Cindric told NBC Sports at Watkins Glen the team would need to complete a late entry form to run. As of press time, the team said it was still evaluating an entry.

Among the 38 cars that are present, split between 9 Prototype, 3 Prototype Challenge, 9 GT Le Mans and 17 GT Daytona cars, there’s these notable driver additions:

  • IndyCar drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R), Sebastien Bourdais (No. 66) and Scott Dixon (No. 67) in Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs
  • Brendon Hartley (No. 2) and Bruno Senna (No. 22) in Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis
  • Filipe Albuquerque (No. 5) and Mike Conway (No. 31) in Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.Rs
  • Rebellion Racing’s return with Mathias Beche, Nick Heidfeld and Gustavo Menezes in No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson
  • Julien Canal (No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson) and Chris Miller (No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson) as other pro/am extras in LMP2 cars
  • Mazda factory driver Jonathan Bomarito on loan to the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ligier JS P217 Gibson, filling in for Rene Rast on DTM duty
  • Porsche factory driver Patrick Long in his third IMSA GTD Porsche of the year, the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, after also being in No. 28 Alegra and No. 54 CORE Porsches
  • Mike Rockenfeller (No. 3) and Marcel Fassler (No. 4) in Corvette C7.Rs
  • Kuno Wittmer (No. 24) and Nicky Catsburg (No. 25) in BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLMs
  • Nick Tandy (No. 911) and Earl Bamber (No. 912) in Porsche 911 RSRs
  • Alessandro Pier Guidi in No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE
  • The No. 23 Alex Job Racing (Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler, Frankie Montecalvo) and No. 29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport (Connor De Phillippi, Chris Mies, Kelvin van der Linde) Audi R8 LMS in GTD
  • Ian James (No. 14) and Austin Cindric (No. 15) in 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3s
  • Trent Hindman in No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in his second different GTD car this year
  • Other GTD third drivers that include Brett Sandberg, Michael de Quesada, Mario Farnbacher, Nic Jonsson, Matt Bell, Matteo Cressoni, Matt McMurry, Dion von Moltke, Tom Dyer, Mark Wilkins, and Justin Marks
  • MRTI veterans Danny Burkett and Garett Grist back in BAR1 Motorsports PC cars for that class swan song, along with Performance Tech Motorsports regular third driver Kyle Masson

The race runs Saturday, October 7, to cap off IMSA’s season.

F1 2017 driver review: Kevin Magnussen

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Kevin Magnussen

Team: Haas
Car No.: 20
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P7 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 19
Championship Position: 14th

Kevin Magnussen’s move to Haas proved to be a win-win situation for both parties through 2017 as they banished the struggles of the previous Formula 1 season.

For Magnussen, the move came after a difficult one-season stint with Renault who despite offering him a way back into F1 after a year on the sidelines were unable to produce a car allowing the Dane to fight far up the order.

Haas had not expected to be able to be that much further ahead, but Magnussen nevertheless immediately offered an uplift in performance after replacing Esteban Gutierrez, who failed to score a single point through 2016.

Magnussen picked up Haas’ first points of the season with a solid drive in China, and was able to capitalize on the bonkers Baku race to take P7, which would ultimately be his best result of the season.

Consistency was a real issue for Haas throughout the year as it continued to have teething problems most new teams encounter, and while Magnussen was more able to drive around the problems than teammate Romain Grosjean, he lacked the ultimate pace of his teammate.

That said, Magnussen’s season highlight came in Mexico, a track Haas expected to be its worst of the season. The ex-McLaren driver qualified on the last row but produced a stunning display to finish eighth, soaking up pressure from Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton late on.

The signs are positive moving forward. Next year should be Haas’ best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations, presenting a good opportunity for Magnussen to prove his star quality.

Season High: Taking P8 in Mexico when Haas expected to be slowest.

Season Low: Lagging home P15 at Spa as Grosjean hit the points.